2.27 Impact Wrestling
The Big News: Austin Aries turned heel and joined Team Roode for Lethal Lockdown after jumping MVP during the main event. Show largely set up the Lockdown card.
A furious Gunner stomped around backstage looking for James Storm.
MVP came out for an in-ring promo. Mike Tenay announced at the start of the show that Dixie Carter wasn't in attendance, with no explanation where she was. Anybody remember the last time Vince McMahon missed a Raw taping? Tenay said Dixie had given her matchmaking powers to Bobby Roode, Ethan Carter the Third and Magnus. MVP announced Magnus vs. Samoa Joe for the main event of Lockdown, and each man went to the ring for a contract signing. MVP said the Magnus rules wouldn't be in effect for Lockdown, but Joe Rules would be. That meant that the match could only end via submisison or knockout. Wait, Magnus Rules mean no DQ. Since it's a cage match, wouldn't Magnus Rules apply by default? Anyway, both men signed. Magnus continued to bait Joe, who head butted him like it was Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey. Joe sent Magnus out of the ring until security separated them.
The crowd in London may not have packed the building, but the high-quality television production made it look like they did. So the scene shifted to footage of the Wolves winning the TNA World Tag Team Titles from Bro Mans at a house show in West Virginia, and talk about a night-and-day difference. They looked like they were wrestling in a community center. This led to a scene backstage, which was shot weeks before the actual title switch, where Robbie E, Jessie Godderz and DJ Zema asked Roode for a rematch. Instead, Roode ordered a three-way match with Bro Mans vs. Bad Influence vs. The Wolves. If Bro Mans won, they would be on his Lethal Lockdown team.
Bro Mans defeated Bad Influence in a three-way match that also included the Wolves in 5:27. This was the first three-way match in years where two tag teams understood the correct strategy was not to involve the third team. Bro Mans was frozen out most of the way. Eddie Edwards got the hot tag and had Kazarian pinned after a Chin Checker, but Godderz made the save. Edwards gave Kazarian the double stomp off the top, and Davey Richards followed with the Invader. But Robbie tagged Richards while he was standing on the top rope, Godderz threw Richards out of the ring and Robbie pinned Kazarian. **1/4
EC3 said Dixie has allowed him to pick his own opponent tonight, and he has chosen one of England's greatest wrestlers. He also said Kurt Angle would have to face the truth tonight, and he would present it to him.
Austin Aries and Roode talked backstage. Roode wanted Aries on his Lethal Lockdown team. They bickered about Aries winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Roode 18 months ago. Roode asked Aries if he could trust MVP as the owner of the company. Aries wondered if he could trust Roode anymore.
EC3 named Doug Williams as his opponent. Williams got a good pop, though he wasn't in as good a shape as the last time we saw him.
2. Ethan Carter the Third defeated Doug Williams in 1:21. Williams went for the Chaos Theory when EC3 blocked it by giving him a low blow, then pinned him with the one percent. EC3 put Williams in the heel hook afterwards. Really a shame the company can't find room for Williams on their roster.
Storm came out for his first appearance as a heel in years. He called down Gunner, who wanted blood. Storm wanted to talk it over. So Gunner stopped and listened. Ugh. Why couldn't they just have had Storm cut his promo, then have Gunner run out and start a brawl where Storm runs away? To have Gunner stand there made him look timid. Anyway, Storm said that Gunner leap frogged him for the world title shot. Storm said if it wasn't for him, then Gunner would have never been on the radar. Storm said Gunner never once told him thank you. Gunner responded that when he was in the Marines, a thank you was standing beside the man you were fighting with. He said the only reason why Storm could stay home and drink beer was because of soldiers like him. Storm said no one gave a damn if Gunner had made it home dead or alive. Gunner said his family cared, and the fans cared. It ended up with the two brawling, and Storm swinging a chair for Gunner's head but missing. Storm ran off through the crowd after Gunner got the chair. Crowd again liked Gunner.
Gunner said he would eventually find Storm backstage later tonight.
A disheveled Magnus was back in the ring with Bad Bones, the wrestler from Germany who was introduced last week. Magnus challenged Joe to come out and faced Bones.
3. Samoa Joe defeated Bad Bones via submission in 1:16. Musclebuster and Kokina Clutch for the tap.
MVP talked with Aries, saying he needed a final decision about joining his team. Aries said he was on the fence. Aries said he wanted to see the fight of MVP up close and personal tonight, so he wanted MVP to make him the special referee for his match with Roode tonight. MVP agreed saying he wanted to be able to trust Aries, and they shook hands.
Jeremy Borash started the ceremony for Angle's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Borash talked about his 12 years in TNA, and the moment where he felt the company change the most was when Angle debuted for the company. A very good video aired featuring Jeff Hardy (not Willow) and Taz putting Angle over. Angle was clearly hurting just walking to the ring in street clothes. Borash presented him with a Rolex. Crowd chanted "Thank you, Angle." Angle said he was supposed to accept the honor in October, but he was in a bad place professionally and personally. After four-and-a-half months, he got clean, had great matches with Roode and had a clear head. He thanked his wife and children, the guys in the back and the fans. He concluded his speech when EC3 came out. EC3 showed his own video, which was footage of him destroying Angle's leg from three weeks ago. There were these silly word balloons superimposed over Ethan's head which made for lame comedy. EC3 then announced that Angle had a torn ACL and MCL and would have to retire. Angle said that EC3 didn't have the right sources, and that his MCL and ACL weren't torn. Angle asked Carter if he still wanted to be in the ring with him. Carter sheepishly said he didn't. Angle decked him. Then Angle announced that EC3 would face him at Lockdown. The whole comedy portion of this angle hurt the development of EC3's character. The Hall of Fame portion was very good as it really felt like something special.
4. The Alpha Female and Lei'd Tapa defeated Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne in 2:32. Taz said the Alpha Female was somehow related to Bad Bones in a Illegitimate way. Tenay ignored the comment, I guess fearing some incest joke. There was interference left and right from Chris Sabin and Gail Kim, and Lei'd Tapa pinned Madison Rayne with a TKO. Postmatch, Velvet Sky went after Sabin, but Alpha but Velvet in a full nelson. ODB ran in for the save. 1/2*
The latest introductory vignette was for Tiger Uno, who is Extreme Tiger.
Samuel Shaw came out and started quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson saying to be great means to be misunderstood. Shaw said that Christy Hemme had misunderstood him and invited her to come into the ring. Shaw said that certain men in the back where after her for one thing and he was there to protect her. Ken Anderson came out (it's no longer Mr. Anderson) and said Shaw was a creepy bastard and his relationship with Hemme was a fantasy. Shaw said Hemme saw plenty in him, which Hemme denied. Shaw then reeled off some dialogue that came straight from the pen of Vince Russo saying he can find women like Hemme anywhere. Hemme slapped him, Shaw threatened her, Anderson ran in for the save. Shaw used his head and arm choke to send Anderson unconscious. Hemme looked worried as they went to break. So, why is Anderson the one who stands up for Hemme when it was acknowledged that he just became the father of twins? And how does Shaw go from town to town? Wouldn't the boys be reluctant to give a psycho a ride to the next town? Wonder what Shaw does for his other job? I picture him as a masseuse. "He had a crazy look in his eye, but boy could he put on a neck crank!" If there's a worse gimmick than Samuel Shaw this year, I'll be surprised.
Gunner found Storm and they started brawling backstage, including into the back of an 18-wheeler. Al Snow and several other agents ran in to break it up. They're also fighting at Lockdown. Storm stole a Johnny Cash lyric title (actually, it's an old folk song, but Cash made it famous) saying sooner or later Gunner's God would strike him down.
Eric Young was asked about Abyss' whereabouts. Young said he doesn't know where Abyss is, but he hopes the guy he was last in the ring with doesn't show up again.
5. Bobby Roode defeated MVP with Austin Aries as special referee in 9:39. They had a New Japan-style match full of forearms. It was another solid performance by Roode since MVP has some ring rust to work through. Roode delivered a Double R Spinebuster for a near fall. Later, MVP hit the Ballin' Elbow and followed with the Playmaker, but Roode kicked out. Aries, who received most of the chants in the match, turned heel when MVP came out of the corner for a kick, but Aries caught him with a forearm. Roode then pinned MVP with the Roode Bomb. Aries was revealed as the fourth and final member of Team Roode. ***1/2
SUMMARY: The show feels crammed again. It's good to see the card set up well ahead of time, though the turn of Aries seems short-sighted. Seems like the fans were ready to make him a top face again, just like they've done with Joe.